Video of Linwood Lambert, the man who died in police custody during a medical trip to the ER, has finally been released in an exclusive report by MSNBC.
Lambert’s case has been open for two years, with no charges brought against South Boston, Virginia Cpl. Tiffany Bratton, Officer Clifton Mann, and Officer Travis Clay, who allegedly used excessive force via Taser on the 46-year-old.
Lambert’s May 2013 encounter with police began at a motel in South Boston. Police were called after a man was heard making disturbing noises and apparently hallucinating in his room. Bratton, Mann, and Clay arrived and told Lambert they were taking him to a local hospital. Upon arrival to the ER, Lambert kicked the glass out of the squad car and began running towards the automatic hospital doors, handcuffed with his hands behind his back.
Police account of what happened next is drastically different from surveillance released to Lambert’s family and the public. South Boston police claim Lambert was combative, but the footage shows Lambert cooperating with the officers after he was stunned with a Taser. Instead of bringing Lambert into the ER, he was returned to the squad car and placed under arrest. He was also charged with disorderly conduct and destruction of property.
The officers eventually arrived at the jail with an unconscious Lambert. Police claimed Lambert was unruly and violent, although he was revealed to be unconscious in raw police footage from the squad car.
He was then taken back to the ER in an ambulance and pronounced dead at 6:23 a.m., just an hour after his encounter with the officers began.
Lambert’s family believes excessive use of Tasers led to his death.
In total, Lambert was struck with the Taser 20 times over the time span of a half hour. The officers also broke Taser restrictions when they stunned Lambert in front of the ER. A Taser isn’t required use against a restrained suspect. Despite the violations, a prosecutor claimed the officers didn’t warrant any criminal charges during a preliminary hearing in March.
Today, the officers are still employed and have received promotions.
Lambert’s sister, Gwendolyn Smalls, learned of his death when police called her that Sunday morning. “We got the phone call that he had died, while in police custody,” she told MSNBC. “We were all shocked. She watched them for the first time last month, at her father’s house. “It was horrible,” she said, “a nightmare.”
Lambert’s father, Linwood Lambert Sr., 66, told MSNBC he doesn’t have the words to describe what he saw.
“I can’t say what I was thinking, it was awful,” he recalled. “You wouldn’t do any human or any species like that. I don’t think anyone could hate someone that bad to inflict pain such as what they did,” Lambert said. “I don’t see anything that he did in that tape,” Lambert added, “that would provoke them to do what they did.”
Smalls filed a civil suit against the police over the summer, citing wrongful death, excessive force, and denial of medical care. It wasn’t until the $25 million suit got to court that information about the case — like the surveillance footage — became available to the family.
Tom Sweeney, Smalls’ attorney, said the police painted the portrait of an aggressive man to support their use of force.
You can watch full video of the encounter below.
SOURCE: MSNBC | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform, MSNBC News
Watch guest host Ray Baker, Lambert’s sister, Gwendolyn Smalls and the NewsOne Now panel discuss this disturbing death in custody case in the video clip below.
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